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Author Archive | David Learmount

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Digital versus delightful

What makes manufacturers who are considering a new aircraft choose fly-by-wire or traditional control systems, sidestick or control yoke? Of course, for a big-jet it’s no contest any longer: it’ll be FBW, but there will still be a wrangle over the pilot’s cockpit control. Most planned new business jets and some of the latest regional […]

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Contaminated air: it’s not just aeroplanes…

This is about a comment that was appended recently to my blog “The toxic subject that won’t die”. It doesn’t matter, it seems, whether the gas turbine powers a ship or an aeroplane. It can, as Troy Moeller says, “blow atomised synthetic lube oil all over you”. And then you lose your job and your health. […]

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Beyond pilot training

With its free-of-charge Safety Standdown seminars at Wichitaw and EBACE Geneva, Bombardier takes civil pilots into realms way beyond the “aviate, navigate, communicate” arts of flying they are traditionally exposed to. You have to go to one to find out what I mean, because you don’t know what you don’t know until somebody shows you. […]

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Toxic cabin air is more poisonous than reckoned

Neurotoxic poisons in bleed air is not a new subject on this blog, but the more information we get on it, the more serious looks the aviation industry’s studied decision to ignore the dangers associated with contaminated cabin air, or to obfuscate.   To read about the human misery caused by cabin air contamination in airliners, go to The toxic subject that won’t […]

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It’s the northern spring now, but…

 …if you want to be ready for the winter, your senior management pilots would do well to go to Toronto later this year. Icing is only one of the issues on the winter agenda but, along with human factors, it remains one of aviation’s most vulnerable areas.   The International Winter Operations Conference is where you can […]

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Crew duty hours up for manipulation

Flight time limitations (FTL) regulation is a subject that seriously affects airline pilots, cabin crew, and their employers, so it matters that Europe is considering changing its existing FTL rules in the light of scientific evidence on the causes and effects of fatigue. The airlines like the existing FTLs, known unattractively as EU Ops Sub-Part Q. The scientific answers to European […]

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Fatal distraction

Recently we have learned from studies by the NTSB and NASA that distractions in cockpits can be fatal, and certainly represent a considerable risk that has not been properly acknowledged. The NTSB’s senior human performance investigator Dr William Bramble finds that all the recent fatal airline accidents caused by pilot disorientation were preceded by crew distraction […]

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NASA boldly going where man has been before?

Is NASA barking up the wrong tree with its “large transport aircraft upset recovery research programme?” While I’m sure that the human factors, physiological and psychological results of testing pilots in centrifuges will be scientifically interesting, I’m not so sure they will be useful. NASA is not the first organisation to do research on why […]

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Narita MD-11 crash: the disaster sequence examined

The prevailing situation: The FedEx MD-11 was approaching runway 34L at Tokyo Narita, with fairly high gusting winds forecasted. Gusting winds always raise the spectre of potential windshear, and Narita is renowned for it. The forecast wind (320deg at 26kt gusting to 40kt) would have provided a crosswind from the left that was some 20deg off the runway heading, although that may not have been what […]

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Uneasy about airline safety

Last year’s safety figures confirmed a trend that was becoming established over the last five years: airline safety has stopped improving, something it never did before since the Wright Brothers. This year’s serious occurrences show no sign that this is changing for the better. Another unwelcome fact is that more accidents are happening to aircraft registered in a country […]

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